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Posts Tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

Delhi Gang Rape: Saudi Justice Needed?

December 31, 2012 9 comments

Delhi gang-rape is national shame. Police-danda is the only thing that will control Indians. Saudi-Justice needed for rapists in India. A 2ndlook.

5 CHANGES NEEDED IN OUR LAWS 1 Increase the deterrence against crimes against women. Change law to make life term plus chemical castration the punishment for violent rapes 2 Expand the definition of rape to include not just penile penetration of the vagina but also oral sex and penetration for sexual purpose of the vagina, anus, urethra or mouth 3 Introduce rape by security forces as a special category of aggravated sexual assault on the lines of the clause dealing with custodial rape 4 Enhance the maximum prison term for molestation from 2 to 5 years & sexual harassment or what’s euphemistically called ‘eve-teasing’ from 1 to 3 years 5 Remove gender inequities in the provisions relating adultery and natural guardian and enact a special law to take pre-emptive action against caste assemblies inciting “honour killings”  |  Times Of India 2012-12-30 19-45-41

5 CHANGES NEEDED IN OUR LAWS as per Times Of India 2012-12-30 19-45-41

The Delhi gang-rape has evoked some curious reactions – that can be divided in three, broad categories

Desert Grass Is Greener

On social media, thousands wrote on Twitter and Facebook that India needs Saudi justice, using amputations and beheadings .

Of all the people in this world, Indians should know about rape in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Justice and Law

Thousands of Indian-women from Hyderabad, Kerala, on a khadama visa, have been raped, abused, enslaved and then imprisoned in Saudi homes.

5 STEPS TO ENHANCE WOMEN’S SAFETY  1 Increase police patrolling. If necessary, hike number of cops in city. All VIPs with more than two security personnel should give one cop from their security to enhance police presence for the public 2 Register FIRs in all cases of rape, sexual harassment and other crimes against women. Prosecute cops found persuading women to drop such complaints 3 Home guards on buses not enough. Institute system of random checking of buses by PCR vans at night 4 Use technology: All public transport must be on GPS, install CCTVs on buses, make drivers and helpers/conductors wear non-tamperable photo IDs, create common database accessible by police and other enforcement agencies 5 All sexual offenders must be monitored by law enforcers once they have served their sentence  |  Times Of India 2012-12-30 19-42-32

5 STEPS TO ENHANCE WOMEN’S SAFETY as per Times Of India 2012-12-30 19-42-32

Ever heard of any punishment to a Saudi national for raping a Filipino or an Indian woman? Even as foreign workers, the force behind Saudi economy, are easily beheaded.

Coming to rape in Saudi society, with women confined within four walls,  rape in Saudi Arabia happens within the house.

The other question that needs asking is how well does Saudi law protect ordinary Saudi women? Any reading of Saudi law enforcement seems to imply that it is designed to protect and extend the privileges of the established elites.

If Saudi justice and executions were so effective, why are there rape incidents in Saudi-Arabia?

So, while vocal Indians on social media was asking for empty ‘Saudi’ justice, what was mainstream media promoting?

Mass Media On Mass Suicide

Mainstream media on the other side led a campaign to increase police powers, presence and prerogatives. More laws that will imprison more people to be apprehended by more policemen.

Any data to support that more police works?

None.

But, there is data that shows countries with bigger police forces – especially in the West, have seen the opposite result.

More police will mean more police brutality  |  Cartoon by Morparia in Mumbai Mirror on December 31, 2012

More police will mean more police brutality | Cartoon by Morparia in Mumbai Mirror on December 31, 2012

In all these countries which have gone down this road of police powers, presence and prerogatives have discovered that more laws and more police create more criminals and more prisoners.

US with the world’s largest police force and the biggest prisoner population in the world also enjoys the distinction of having one of the highest rape incidents-count in the world.

Most voices followed the lines:

  1. Saudi Justice
  2. Making India into a police State
  3. All Indians must be ashamed

Did You Know

Does Indian society promote rape? Should we be ashamed?

Unlike the leering image that Bollywood portrays of Indian underworld, even Indian criminals have scant regard for rapists.

In fact, as 2ndlook posts pointed out a few years ago, rapists need to be afraid while in prison. Indian criminals and under-trials do not accept rapists worthy of any respect.

The Delhi gang-rapists have been moved to special cells as they have faced violence and threats from other prisoners. Though denied by Tihar Jail authorities, news agencies report that the gang-rape accused were made to drink their own urine and forced to eat excreta by other prisoners.

Shunned inside, rapists in Indian prisons lead a lonely and threatened life.

What Worries Me

In April 2008, the world woke up to a stunning case of incestuous rape – an Austrian, Josef Fritzl was charged with imprisoning and raping his daughter for 24 years. During this period, he fathered 7 children with his daughter.

These kind of cases, where (mostly) father’s sexual identity gets mixed up seem to occur frequently all over the world – and in India, too. These cases should be keeping our researchers busy – finding a solution to this seemingly global problem. There is little quantitative data on this – but plenty of anecdotal evidence, that incestuous rape is common.

Strangely, one area where this seems to be nearly absent is the Indo-Gangetic plain. Is this because sexual-marital are defined from a young age – by a mechanism that prohibits marriages within a sub-community and even among distant relatives is taboo. This extended prohibition, a ban on सगोत्र sagotra marriages seems like an effective solution.

Except in the modern, liberal-progress narrative, this tradition is regressive – and must be done away with. Haryana’s khap panchayats, who have been at the vanguard of keeping this tradition alive, have been persecuted, lampooned in India.

Such a price for modernity.

Voices From Cyberia

https://twitter.com/chits0alotmore/status/285006140566290432

2ndkook posts on Delhi gang-rape case

Related posts – External Sites


One ‘Birather’ to Another?

June 1, 2012 2 comments

Back in 70s, the new-found power by the Islāmic Middle East made the Indian Muslim proud about his religious identity? What now …

The State of Public Policy  in Pakistan  |  Cartoon by Sabir Nazar; Source & courtesy: Pakistan Today  |  Click for image.

The State of Public Policy in Pakistan | Cartoon by Sabir Nazar; Source & courtesy: Pakistan Today | Click for image.

Oil wealth

The oil riches, glitzy infrastructure boom of the Middle East, after the 1973 Oil Embargo, had a profound effect in Indian Muslims. The new-found power by the Islamic Middle East made the Indian Muslim proud about his religious identity.

For the general Indian, the Middle East was the answer to the slow Indian economy. In an economy of shortages, with an over-valued Indian currency, the Dubai allure was irresistible. It was the passport to wealth and abundance.

Jannat lost?

It took another 10-15 years for Indians to discover the underbelly of Dubai.

To an average Indian, the prospect of slow career growth in Dubai, limited growth opportunities, the discrimination between the Western expatriates and Indians (and others) had a telling – and chilling effect. The Indian-Muslim, expecting a warm welcome in sandy climes, found a sneer instead.

The fig leaf of oil riches covered the intellectual bankruptcy of the Middle East. (Cartoon by Bob Gorrell; 2009; source and courtesy - time.com). Click for larger image.

The fig leaf of oil riches covered the intellectual bankruptcy of the Middle East. (Cartoon by Bob Gorrell; 2009; source and courtesy – time.com). Click for larger image.

Unfortunate victims in this labour-import by the Middle East, many are in the Saudi Arabia. With a rich Welfare State, high disposable incomes

THE presence of a housemaid in a Saudi house has become inevitable. If this inevitability is not because of her services, then it is because of the need to imitate others. This is a fact that everybody knows. The need for housemaids is connected to the ways Saudis live — women go to work, responsibilities for the social and educational welfare of children, men failing to help with house duties, few day-care facilities for children, large and spacious homes, extended families and increasing numbers of children. The net result is that the majority of families need to have housemaids. The truth of the matter is that some of us need more than one housemaid. (via Saudis and domestic help — ‘maid’ for each other).

This above extract on Middle East does not utter the word India even once – or the abuse of these maids – as another story, from the same publication shows.

But now the 40-year-old woman says her sponsor stopped paying her four months ago and then sold her to a labor placement agency in Riyadh for SR13,000 (about $3,460).

After promising to pay her the back salary, the agency sent her to work for another Saudi family without paying her the promised sum. And she claims her new employer, a Saudi woman, is treating her poorly, such as not paying her a salary, keeping her locked up so she won’t flee and denying her medical attention.

“I’m sick and this woman won’t give me even a Panadol, and she has not given me salary,” Beevi told Arab News.

“There are three other maids here, too: an Indonesian, a Sri Lankan, and one from Morocco. They have not been paid their salaries either.”

If the allegations are true then a number of Saudi labor laws have been violated by Beevi’s first sponsor, the labor placement agent and the new employer.

Besides the obvious illegal practice of not paying a salary, a sponsor cannot sell off an employee to a third party agent. That third party agent is likewise prohibited by law from then hiring out a worker under somebody else’s sponsorship.

The new employer has also broken the law by taking in a worker who is not under her sponsorship. Beevi says she is still under the sponsorship of her first sponsor.

Beevi has complained to the Federation of Kerala Associations in Saudi Arabia (FOKASA), which has filed a petition on her behalf to the Indian Embassy in Riyadh. (via Housemaids bought, sold like chattels | ArabNews).

Welcome to the party

But for Pakistanis the story has been different.

Brought up on a history that glorified Mohammed Bin Qasim, Pakistan’s official history hitched itself to Muslim ‘invaders’ and ‘conquerors’ of ‘idol-worshiping’ India. Even invoked on cricket fields, the Mohammed Bin Qasim narrative gained further strength in Pakistan with the Oil Boom in the Middle East.

From 1975-2005, as India slowly and inexorably pulled away and ahead of Pakistan, this narrative started sounding rather tinny. Further, the plateau and decline of the Oil Boom in the Middle East, diluted the power of this narrative.

What of Pakistani perception of treatment of Pakistanis by the Saudis?

Not very complimentary if this report is anything to go by.

RAWALPINDI: Airport Security Force personnel at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport allegedly entered into an altercation with the military attaché of the Saudi embassy on Thursday, after he refused to cooperate during security checks and abused Pakistan and called Pakistani officials his “servants”.

According to officials from the ASF, Colonel Sukhari, who was meant to fly out to Riyadh, refused to get a routine body check and started quarrelling with the security personnel at the airport.

The Saudi embassy official became abusive and attacked the ASF officials, say eye witnesses. He also abused Pakistanis in general and called them “servant class,” said eyewitnesses.

An official from the Airport Police said the Saudi official started the fight by slapping an ASF official, identified as Idrees. (via Refusing to cooperate: ‘ASF men rough up Saudi embassy official’ – The Express Tribune).

Not surprising this ‘official’ history attracts sarcasm and derision in Pakistan.

For instance this tweet.

https://twitter.com/majorlyprofound/status/208440711551524864


Pakistan. The Calculus has Changed

June 11, 2011 2 comments
The garbageman comes collecting the usual load of rubbish on Pakistan (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy - bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

The garbageman comes collecting the usual load of rubbish on Pakistan (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy – bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

Crack in the mirror

Reality has changed. Our stories have not.

It is just not the dirt on our glasses. We continue to look at Pakistan with our old pair of glasses. Even as our vision has clouded, the Pakistan we see, has changed.

To understand some questions on Pakistan, in India we need to abandon the official Congressi narrative. Equally, the Western mass-media rubbish about Pakistan.

The cliché of terrorism

On 4th January, 2011, a Pakistani leader specializing in electoral politics, Salman Taseer died. Shot dead by his own body guard.

Exactly 4 days later, in USA, on the other side of the world, on Saturday 8th January, 2011, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, was shot. At a Safeway grocery store, on the north side of Tucson, Arizona, during a public event.

Both of them shot. For similar reasons, by different gunmen.

What difference

Gunmen who are killing thousands in Pakistan and USA. Technically, more Americans are killed by guns in USA than in Pakistan. For instance, USA law-enforcement authorities found that ‘14,000 murders involving firearms were committed in 2005′. 

Surely, it is no comfort to American victims of gunfire that they were not killed by jehadis.

'Biting' Sarcasm. How the Army-ISI pet has started disobeying the master. (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy - bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

‘Biting’ Sarcasm. How the Army-ISI pet has started disobeying the master. (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy – bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

The most obvious portrayal by the mass-media is terrorist violence in Pakistan. An imploding Pakistan, with gun-toting jehadi terrorists are convenient caricatures that hide a deep shift. To understand the shift, let us look at Pakistan – and its sponsor, ally and undertaker underwriter-in-chief.

All that seems to separate Pakistan and US of A, is a very thick wad of currency notes.

Power grab in Pakistan

Politics in Pakistan is held to higher and different standards. To anyone but the most biased or blinkered, it is clear that there are political and economic objectives that drive Pakistani rulers. Just like other rulers of the world.

When looking at Pakistan, don’t use Western notions like a two-party collusive democracy is better than one-party conspiring oligarchy? Instead of one-party ‘dictatorship’ of China or a ‘two-party’ democracy in the West, there are more Pakistani players, each jockeying for power, differently. According to ‘modern’ political standards, in a very messy manner.

There is a on-going power struggle to control Pakistan’s atom-bombs, wealth, people, natural resources et al. Four Pakistani groups  are in the fray. What Pakistani leadership is doing, is competing with each other to grab power. The anti-India hysteria, alleged Islamization of Pakistan, the radical elements being a lunatic fringe or the mainstream, is just that much baloney.

The Master's Problem: The 'obedient' dog starts barking at the master. (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy - bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

The Master’s Problem: The ‘obedient’ dog starts barking at the master. (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy – bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

Factions in Pakistan

Among the competing groups are, first the army and the ISI combination. Then there are the popular politicians who participate in elections. Add the third element – mullah-madrasa-mujahhid combine of fundamentalist clergy, various terrorist groups – like JeM, LeT, Al Qaida, various Taliban factions et al.

The economy and wealth is in hands of the fourth element – the 22 families that matter in Pakistan. Mahbub-ul-Haq’s “22 families” speech in Karachi in 1968 highlightedthe power and wealth of a few families in Pakistan.

And bringing up the rear, is the fifth part of Pakistan, who don’t matter.

The Rest of Pakistan.

Pakistan’s diplomatic prowess

As recent events in Abbottabad show.

Any regime that can dictate terms to USA, China, Saudi Arabia, like Pakistan has, is a skilled leadership. US, China and Saudi Arabia renew their loyalty and friendship vows with Pakistan every week – with both words and money?

Pakistan’s ability to keep its super-power allies on their toes is a remarkable diplomatic achievement. To remain a nuclear power, after near-universal condemnation and pressure reconfirms its diplomatic prowress. Pakistani leadership, from Jinnah onwards, have used the State and its institutions, for keeping a grip on power.

USA, China, Saudi Arabia have been able to do little about Pakistan’s misdeeds, apart from some squealing, public name-calling. In the end they paid up. Each time. For 60 years.

That is what matters.

Facing India, with Taliban at the back and US drone attacks from above, Pakistan's command structure has done well to keep the wheels moving. (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy bamulahija.wordpress.com.). Click for larger image.

Facing India, with Taliban at the back and US drone attacks from above, Pakistan’s command structure has done well to keep the wheels moving. (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy bamulahija.wordpress.com.). Click for larger image.

Tolerant West and fundamentalist Pakistan

Pakistan is what Pakistan does. Europe is what is it says it is – and what Europe does, does not matter.

Like ‘freedom’ in the USA, with 20 lakh prisoners – the largest prison population in the world? Or ‘religious tolerance’ like single-faith Switzerland where a third mosque with minarets was not allowed? Maybe, build on ethnic-diversity like the Danes who want to pay Muslims to leave Denmark. Why not even aim for a ‘fair’ legal-system like Britain, where hundreds of thousands of people have been arrested to build a DNA data-bank – ostensibly to help in criminal identification. Or Italy believes it is all right to ban kebabs and other ‘foreign’ food to protect Italian cuisine.

The West today has the lowest levels of ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity – and persecutes whatever little is left, like the Roma Gypsies for example. Italy cheers for Berlusconi who is willing to take global frowns on the finger-printing of Roma Gypsies. Apart from Berlusconi’s Italy, Sarkozy, is a part of the French vanguard to deport “700 members of the Roma Gypsy minority, to Romania and Bulgaria, as part of its controversial crackdown on communities officials hold responsible for criminal activity.”

Sarkozy has encouraged French law-makers to prescribe dress-codes for the French. Sarkozy’s laws sez ‘no burqa’ for French Muslims. The French feel let down because “immigrants were supposed to blend harmoniously into society and not exist in separate communities” – and they did not. Angela Merkel says ‘nien’ to multiculturalism.

For sixty years, Pakistan has bent super-powers to its will. Enviable diplomatic prowess. (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; courtesy - indiatimes.com; 3 May 2011, 1400 hrs IST). Click for larger image.

For sixty years, Pakistan has bent super-powers to its will. Enviable diplomatic prowess. (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; courtesy – indiatimes.com; 3 May 2011, 1400 hrs IST). Click for larger image.

Like the world is able to digest Europe’s xenophobia, Pakistan’s fundamentalism is not significantly different. Except that the West is far richer than Paksiatn. Yet it dances to Pakistan’s tunes.

Makes one think?

Easy question

What is keeping these four Pakistani factions busy?

Oil. Oil. Oil.

While America and European oil demand is huge, it is not growing. For instance US oil consumption between 1973-2010 has grown from 17 mpd to 19 mpd – with some peak and collapses. Growth in oil consumption by India and China is the only sure bet. And that oil is coming from Central Asia. Through Pakistan and Afghanistan.

There are big American and European business interests in Central Asia. It means that Pakistan and Afghanistan become crucial to Big Oil. The various political factions in Pakistan are competing to assume power for a bargaining position with Big Oil – and India. This trade is expected to cross trillions, over the next few years. From this US$trillion-dollar opportunity, no political player in Pakistan, wants his cut to be diluted.

To this oil opportunity, add narcotics trade. The Golden Crescent (Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan) and Golden Triangle (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia) are the largest producers of drugs – and expect massive returns on drug trade. This drug traffic is now passing through Pakistan. The Taliban have extensive experience with opium trade in Afghanistan.

The US wants to be an honest broker

What will be US role, if India and Pakistan were to sit down and resolve their issues. It is in US interest for instance, to create false stereotypes of Pakistanis – which we have examined earlier. Is the world likely to allow NATO and US, a free run of Af-Pak region, if it was declared that Pakistan was a peaceful country? Or that the scale of tribal violence in Pakistan was on a scale smaller than gangsta and ghetto violence in USA.

To maintain presence in Af-Pak region, US is using the FUD technique – create Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. What if Pakistani nuclear devices fall in Talibani hands. What if Pakistan itself falls into Talibani lap?

Pakistan may need to work out an amiable way for these 4 power centres to work together. (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; Courtesy by indiatimes.com). Click for larger image.

Pakistan may need to work out an amiable way for these 4 power centres to work together. (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; Courtesy by indiatimes.com). Click for larger image.

What might change is the way power is shared. The Taliban may become a part of the Pakistani ruling class. How that will happen remains to be seen. A coup? Local elections, maybe. Electoral alliance? Pakistani power-equations are changing. How these equations work out, may surprise us. Some answers, we have. For some haze to clear, we will need to wait. For some outcomes, we must be prepared.

Is India prepared? Ready?

A hard-and-soft answer may work with Pakistan. Soft on trade and economy; hard on defence and terror. (Cartoon by Kartij Bhatt. Courtesy - bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

A hard-and-soft answer may work with Pakistan. Soft on trade and economy; hard on defence and terror. (Cartoon by Kartij Bhatt. Courtesy – bamulahija.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

Pakistani diplomacy – a tour de force

May 28, 2011 1 comment
Cartoon by Jerry Holbert; Courtesy - caveviews.blogs.com. Click for larger image.

Cartoon by Jerry Holbert; Courtesy - caveviews.blogs.com. Click for larger image.

Without Comment

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled halfway around the world Friday for several hours of meetings with Pakistani leaders. Clinton’s brief visit — she arrived just after breakfast and was headed home by early afternoon — was part of the Obama administration’s efforts in recent weeks to leverage bin Laden’s killing during a secret raid by U.S. commandos into closer ties with Pakistan, rather than risk it finally severing the always-fragile partnership.

Administration officials also said they listened to Pakistan’s complaints about the slow delivery of promised military assistance and its desire for other forms of assistance that “they can show as proof of this relationship” to the Pakistani public. “We committed to look at that,” one official said.

Responding to recent reports that Pakistan has tried to solidify its ties with China and other traditional friends as a hedge against troubles with the United States, Clinton said that Americans provide Pakistan with “more support than Saudi Arabia, China and everybody else combined. . . . I’m not sure many Pakistanis know that.”

It was far from the first time the United States has announced an attempted reset. But administration officials traveling with Clinton said that the seriousness of the current crisis had forced both sides to confront the possible consequences of an irreconcilable breach and that the talks were marked by a new level of frankness.

After her news conference at the U.S. Embassy, she was whisked back to her plane and gone before most Pakistanis were even aware she was here.(via Clinton visits Pakistan to firm up new ties – The Washington Post; parts excised /reordered for brevity and continuity).

Cartoon By Nick Anderson, Houston Chronicle From the Cartoonist Group; Courtesy - americanprogress.org. Click for larger image.

Cartoon By Nick Anderson, Houston Chronicle From the Cartoonist Group; Courtesy - americanprogress.org. Click for larger image.

She expressed Washington’s “strong commitment” to relations with Pakistan. Mrs Clinton said that the US had “absolutely no evidence that anyone at the highest level of the Pakistani government” knew where Bin Laden was and said she would return to Washington “ever more committed” to the relationship. In what correspondents say was perhaps an attempt to smooth ruffled Pakistani feathers over the killing, Mrs Clinton acknowledged the ”sacrifices made every single day by the men and women Pakistan’s military and its citizens”.

Mrs Clinton was accompanied on her visit by the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm Mike Mullen. The pair held meetings with senior Pakistani politicians and army officers to plead for greater co-operation in the war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Having all of Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership in one room was unusual, perhaps an effort to get them talking to each other more.

It is the first such high-level visit to Pakistan since the killing of Bin Laden on 2 May. (via BBC News – Clinton exonerates Pakistan over Osama Bin Laden; parts excised /reordered for brevity and continuity).

Taliban and Pakistan Nukes; Cartoon by Mike Keefe; 04/25/2009 (Ref Num:69801); Courtesy - intoon.com. Click forlarger image.

Taliban and Pakistan Nukes; Cartoon by Mike Keefe; 04/25/2009 (Ref Num:69801); Courtesy - intoon.com. Click forlarger image.

Pakistan is preparing for further deterioration, building its non-U.S. alliances and options. For Pakistanis, the Abbottabad raid that killed Osama bin Laden was a vivid demonstration that America does not respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The presence of American drones flying into Pakistan’s airspace underscores this all the time. For Americans, the fact that bin Laden was hiding for years in a major Pakistani garrison town surrounded by Pakistani army cantonments and retired officers’ homes confirmed the U.S. view that the country engages in a complex double game of patronizing some terrorists while fighting others. Both sides are right about the other.

Pakistan has seen the United States cut off aid many ties before in the last half century. It knows Washington is capricious. So it is strengthening its alternatives east and west. China is Pakistan’s reliable “all weather” ally. Both Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders travel often to Beijing to ensure close cooperation. Chinese engineers are building highways to link Tibet to the Arabian Sea through Pakistan. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are key Muslim allies to the west. Pakistan has been the kingdom’s largest recipient of aid for decades and Saudi Prince Bandar just visited Islamabad to secure promises of Pakistani troops if the Arab Spring threatens to erupt in the gulf monarchies. A battalion of Pakistani troops is in Bahrain backing up the Saudi and Emirati forces that intervened there this year to crush the Shia protest movement.(via America’s Menacing Pakistan Problem – Brookings Institution; parts excised /reordered for brevity and continuity).

Indian Muslims – The Changing Debate?

December 4, 2010 2 comments
Most Indian Muslims can see that religious freedom in India exceeds that of even Muslim countries. (Cartoon courtesy-www.koothanallurmuslims.com). Click for larger image.

Most Indian Muslims can see that religious freedom in India exceeds that of even Muslim countries. The idea of world Islamic identity is mix of paranoia and mythology. (Cartoon courtesy-www.koothanallurmuslims.com). Click for larger image.

There is no other country in the world with such breathtaking plurality at the highest level of leadership.

Consider Britain: only Protestant (not Catholic) Christians can be monarch. The law of blasphemy protects only Christian citizens in the United Kingdom. In Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, minorities (including, in Pakistan, even Muslim Ahmadis) have restricted rights. Unlike burqa-banning western democracies such as France and Belgium, Indian secularism does not separate church and state. It allows them to swim together in a common if sometimes chaotic pool.

Fundamentalists dislike the concept of liberal Islam flourishing in the syncretic soil of India. Indian Muslims, however, remain rooted in a Vedic civilisational ethic that has celebrated our religious plurality for over 3,000 years. Despite al-Qaida’s and the ISI’s concerted recruitment efforts, Indian Muslims except renegades from the Students Islamic Movement of India and the Indian Mujahideen have consistently spurned the call to jihad.

India’s innate respect for all religions, which does great credit to its silent Hindu majority, has historically made the country the refuge-of-last-resort for all faiths: Jews, Parsis, Christians, Buddhists. (read more via Educate, Don’t Appease – The Times of India).

Indian Muslim

Caught between liberal-progressive-apologist Hindus, opportunistic politicians, Indian Muslims, are less understood and poorly served by their own leadership. Quite a few things that 2ndlook has said about Indian Muslims are reflected in this article linked and extracted above. Importantly, it is is written by a Muslim.

Missteps

There are a few missteps that the author makes. For one, the Uniform Civil Code. भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra, the Indic political system, does not approve of a Uniform Civil Code. In fact, भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantrahas no State-mandated laws on marriage and sex. That is a matter for communities to decide for themselves.

Good to see the changing debate.

Why is Hillary Clinton talking to India on Blackberry issue

September 3, 2010 8 comments

Canadian trap-doors

This is interesting!

RIM-Blackberry is a Canadian company. Their main business is to provide safe, secure and reliable system for mobile email over mobile phones. Operating in more than a 100 countries having tie ups with most mobile operators in the world.

From computerworld cartoons by John Klossner.

From computerworld cartoons by John Klossner.

India (among other countries) see a security threat with the Blackberry system due to its high encryption rate. The Blackberry system uses a AES-Triple-DES-128 bit encryption system, which cannot be broken in real-time.

Blackberry claims that they do not have any trap-doors or back-doors for access to data – which seems doubtful.

But the absence of trap-doors and back-doors is possible, as Blackberry system has not suffered from too many malware attacks or hacking of its servers.

US back-doors

The use of Blackberry system by terrorists is stoking the fears of Government of India (GOI). To get over this threat, the GOI has asked Blackberry to install Blackberry servers in India. This ensures that access to decrypted data on a real-time basis – as the data on the server resides in a decrypted form. Blackberry is resisting this solution.

From computerworld cartoons by John Klossner

From computerworld cartoons by John Klossner

“We are reaching out to those countries – the UAE, Saudi Arabia, India and others – to understand the security concerns and see if we can work collaboratively to find solutions.

“So that’s a process that is ongoing here at the Department of State. I’ve got no, you know, announcements to make at this point,” State Department spokesman P J Crowley told reporters at his daily news conference.

The United States has also been in touch with RIM, the Canadian company that operates the BlackBerry network worldwide. (via US to hold talks with India on Blackberry issue).

Blackberry is a Canadian company. A purely commercial organisation. Why is the US Government getting involved at all. In fact even the Canadian Government has no role, as far as I can see. GOI is asking Blackberry to follow the law of the land. It is security (for GOI) and a commercial decision (for RIM-Blackberry).

Are you telling me that US does not have alternatives to Blackberry for secure data transmissions!

Are you telling me that US does not have alternatives to Blackberry for secure data transmissions!

One report tries explaining the US interest

The United States has also been in touch with RIM, the Canadian company that operates the BlackBerry network worldwide.

Earlier … Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “We are taking time to consult and analyse the full range of interests and issues at stake because we know that there is a legitimate security concern, but there’s also a legitimate right of free use and access. So, I think we will be pursuing both technical and expert discussions as we go forward.”

If some of these countries follow through on the BlackBerry ban that they have announced, it would have an impact on the US government and its diplomats operating in different countries.

A case of severe crackberry

Now would the US Secretary of State be involved if Blackberry usage for some 2000 diplomats was affected? Two things.

One – the Indian Government would be able check on all Blackberry emails that US diplomats are sending via Blackberry. That will mean US diplomats will need to send encrypted mails over internet – which is not such a difficulty.

Two – This reminds me of the Australian-PM’s-speech-copied-by-Canadian-PM’s-speechwriter scandal.

Give me a good story otherwise.

Oil, Dubai and India

December 16, 2009 1 comment

Sunny, Sandy Dubai

Dubai – the modern El dorado?

In the last 40 years, Dubai and Middle East oil had interesting effects in India.

After the 1973 Oil Embargo, the oil riches, the glitzy infrastructure boom of the Middle East, new found power had a profound effect in India. It also made the Indian Muslim proud about his religious identity. The Bombay High oil find just about saved the Indian economy – and the Indian mental equilibrium. For the general Indian, the Middle East was the answer to the slow Indian economy. In an economy of shortages, an over-valued Indian currency, the Dubai allure was irresistible. It was the passport to wealth and abundance.

A voyage of 50 years

It took another 10-15 years for Indians to discover the underbelly of Dubai. To an average Indian, the prospect of slow career growth in Dubai, limited growth opportunities, the discrimination between the Western expatriates and Indians (and others) had a telling – and chilling effect. The Indian-Muslim, expecting a warm welcome in sandy climes, found a sneer instead.

As the Indian economy started taking off in the 1980’s – starting with consumer electronics and auto-sector de-licensing, Indians found a new modus vivendi with Dubai and himself. The nineties saw this trend only become more pronounced. The Arab ‘sheikh’ marrying poor girls from Hyderabad peaked during this period.

Oil wells that don’t end well

By 2000, India had arrived – and it was apparent to Indians, at least. In the last 10 years, as Saudi debt ballooned, Dubai’s problems also became apparent. Just as it was apparent, and Quicktake pointed more than 1 year ago, that wheels are coming off Dubai. Saudi Arabia started accessing debt in 1980’s due to low oil prices – to pay the bill for a ‘welfare state’! Since then that debt has been reduced significantly – it still stands at US$62 billion.

Most oil producing countries, are now living at the edge. As India’s new oil discoveries come on line from 2009, China’s post-Olympics appetite for oil reduces, a recessionary US cuts down on oil consumption, a stagnant EU damps on oil – what happens to these oil producing countries!!

With the dollar hegemony at risk, what happens to their dollar reserves?

Arab sheikhs cant get poor girls from Hyderabad any more

The global liquidity boom saw the Indian economy offer more domestic opportunities. India’s software successes gave the Indian expat manager in the Middle East some new found respect. The Arab ‘sheikh’ is not the frequent sight in Hyderabad now – nor is he as important, as then.

The Indian Muslim in the meantime, has also come a full circle. From the colonial-era myth of ‘Muslims were the erstwhile rulers of India’, to a situation where (admittedly, the few) Jinnah’s ideological acolytes in India, in the face of a imploding Pakistan, an anti-Islamic West and declining Middle East have had to perforce admit, what Deoband mainatained is that

for Muslims, there is no better country than India, no country in which Muslims are doing as well as they are doing in India. Our complaints, our objections, our problems exist, and we will continue to fight our fight for justice, but in other countries the situation is much worse.

I sometimes wonder, how a very well-to-do, urbane, Hyderabadi Muslim, I know, who thought he was a Muslim first, an admirer of the West next and India is the worst place on Earth till the 80’s, thinks now.

But for most other Indian Muslims, the Middle East sheen, by this time, has worn off. Increasing incomes in India and stagnant incomes in the Middle East- and the circle is complete.

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